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Jeff Golub

In the '90s, guitarist Jeff Golub's blend of jazz, R&B, and pop earned him a reputation for being one of the edgier, more tasteful players in the crossover jazz/NAC/smooth jazz field. Although some of Golub's recordings were played on smooth jazz stations extensively, he was quoted as saying that he refused to play outright elevator music, and to be sure, Golub's solos gave the impression that he was essentially a soul-jazz improviser at heart. The Ohio native (whose influences included Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Lee Ritenour, and Larry Carlton, among others) was quite capable of playing straight-ahead bop; he certainly had the chops for it. However, Golub chose to focus on more commercial music and built up a long résumé as a rock, pop, and R&B session player. He appreciated being compared to artists like David Sanborn, the Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Joe Sample, and Grover Washington, Jr.; that is, instrumentalists who could be commercial- and groove-oriented but still have a jazz improviser's mentality.

Golub was born on April 15, 1955, in Akron, Ohio, where he grew up listening to a variety of R&B, funk, blues, jazz, pop, and rock and began playing guitar as a pre-adolescent. In the '70s, Golub moved away from Akron to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. But by 1980, he had relocated again, this time to New York City; his home base for the remainder of his life. It was in the early '80s that Golub was hired to back arena rock/hard rock star Billy Squier, and that association led to a lot of other session work. The list of major rock or R&B artists Golub backed in the '80s or '90s (either in the studio or on-stage) included Tina Turner, John Waite, Vanessa Williams, Ashford & Simpson, Dar Williams, and former J. Geils Band vocalist Peter Wolf. In 1988, Golub was hired to back Rod Stewart, an association that lasted for eight years; 1988 was also the year in which Golub's first album as a leader, Unspoken Words, was released by the Gaia label, but at that point, he was still devoting most of his time to backing other artists.

It wasn't until 1994, when Golub founded the band Avenue Blue, that playing as a leader became the guitarist's main activity. That year, Golub signed with Mesa/Bluemoon, and Avenue Blue's self-titled debut album of 1994 fared well in the smooth jazz/NAC market. Two more Avenue Blue projects were released by Mesa/Bluemoon -- Naked City in 1996 and Nightlife in 1997 -- but after that, he put the name Avenue Blue to rest. While Avenue Blue, Naked City, and Nightlife had been billed as "Avenue Blue featuring Jeff Golub," 1999's Out of the Blue on Atlantic was billed as strictly Jeff Golub. After that, Golub moved to GRP/Verve, which released Dangerous Curves in 2000, Do It Again in 2002, and Soul Sessions in 2003. A few years later, Golub made yet another move, releasing Temptation on Narada in 2005. Grand Central followed in 2007. In 2009, Golub returned to his '80s rock roots with the electric blues album Blues for You, showcasing vocals from such old pals as Billy Squier, Peter Wolf, and John Waite. In 2011, his band cut The Three Kings with New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler.

In 2011 the optic nerves in Golub's eyes inexplicably collapsed, leaving him blind and requiring a guide dog. In September of 2012, while attempting to catch the subway in New York City, he fell onto the tracks as a train was approaching. He was clipped and dragged by the train as bystanders tried to help. Amazingly, other than cuts and bruises, he was unharmed. Undaunted, the guitarist recorded a collaborative album with British keyboard legend Brian Auger, ironically entitled The Train Keeps A-Rollin'. The set was released in the summer of 2013.

While touring in support of The Train Keeps A-Rollin', however, Golub began suffering problems with his motor skills, including issues with his balance and speech. In November of 2014, he was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an incurable degenerative brain disease. Golub died of complications from the disease on January 1, 2015. He was 59 years old. The all-star benefit album The Vault, featuring unreleased and reworked recordings from Golub and guests, was released posthumously in April 2015. The album featured appearances from trumpeter Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, and others, with proceeds going to Golub's family. ~ Alex Henderson
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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R.I.P. JEFF YOUR MUSIC WILL LIVE ON & INSPIRE OTHERS! U WERE ONE OF THE GREATS!
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God give him his talent and God took his talent right back. I was stock, I am stocked. The masters are all leaving us. RIP!
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REPOST THIS ON THREE SONGS IF YOU WANT JUSTIN BIEBER TO FALL OFF A BUILDING AND DIE
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d.odom9
Very nice. Real smooth.
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Wow! The things this man endured!! Very talented. RIP
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Jeff, You will forever live in your music and those that were blessed to hear it...my heart goes out to those you left behind...the s e are truly the moments when we see, understand, what is of value and what is fluff...You touched many and will continue to touch more...God Bless You and Yours...You enriched us all and I Promise those will come that go, damz, I wish I could see him play live...They will look to your music to know You. Pure, powerful yet soft and always from the heart Thank You.
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Nice!!!
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I remember distinctly the first time I heard his music, and how I was immensely impressed by his talent. His abilities placed him in the top tenth percentile of his genre. He is truly missed.
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This is so sad. Jeff was a fabulous musician. He is missed... =(
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glorenzen1
I remember liking his music on Pandora a few years ago and getting what I thought would be local concert dates( after going to his website) instead, I received concerned update(s) on his condition from time to time....what a class guy...he will be missed...
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Very Sad. Drop Top was my favorite.
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Love him... gone too soon :(
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What a fabulous musician he was. I miss him...
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I can't believe Jeff Golub is no longer with us. We will miss you and your musical gifts. RIP Jeff.
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wrightnakish a
He was an amazing artist he will be greatly missed
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Did Mr. Jeff Golub pass on this life? I never knew that. Omg! My prayers go out to his family and friends. Man..
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He will be greatly missed. Such great talent. Rest in Peace.
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dsmith63329
I had the awesome pleasure of meeting him in 2006 on the Warren Hill Jazz Cruise (now Smooth Jazz Cruise). You were such a gentleman and a true class act! Rest in peace and we will listen to your music forever.
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sesipe
Huge loss for the world of jazz. So very sad indeed as he was a wonderful human being and those are difficult to come by these days. RIP Jeff Golub
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Loved your music and you will truly be missed, heaven has a new addition, there's George, Joe, and now Jeff, the band just got larger, go play that guitar, we'll miss you, Rest In Peace, God Bless
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Rest In Paradise!
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cjansen27
Rest In Peace - Friend
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tnlisa
what a huge loss for us all.....you will be missed, Jeff......
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So sorry for the loss of Jeff Golub he was one of my favorite favorite jazz guitarist!!! Rest In Peace
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cwt1949
So sorry to lose Jeff today! Amazing player!

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galeclan
This is a beautiful example of what a jazz/blues guitar sound can be. Love every note!
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My favorite Jazz is by Guitar he does a fantastic job.
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Smooth and sweet - can't be beat.
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amazing guitar playing Jeff's one of the greatest I've heard
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djones056com m e n t e d . Great. To. Relax. By. Thanks
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I LOVE HIS MUSIC! ,$straight up!
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tomman30
smooth sounds....lo v i n it
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Great Guitarist... . . . . . . . . . up there with Clapton, Hendrix Etc.
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Jeff is the finest gutar player, nex to my uncle, Hollywood Studio Musician, Russ Soule.
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I love the sound of this music!!!
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Jeff can make a guitar talk to you!
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Great music for beautiful Sunday afternoon! Grown folks only.
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Smooth Guitarist. this song is as smooth as a summer breeze by the ocean,!
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AMAZING guitarist! I always know whos playing before his name comes up. Cant say that about 99% of guitar music! Jeff has proved that adversity can be overcome, if the first step-believi n g it can - is taken. Way to go, my brother!!!
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Jeff reminds me of my uncle, who was a Hollywood Studio Guitarist in the 1940ies, and 50ies. His name was Russ Soule.
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His music creates a vast spectrum of talent and skill, I define his music as a flower in bloom!!
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He is in the zone of greatness. So sorry abourt his eye sight loss.tggggg
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He is the best ever!!
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First time hearing this artist... Love the sound Jeff... Keep rockin.
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Smooth to the touch, very relaxing & you know it has a sexy beat also. I dig it.
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Beautiful remix !
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FOURPLAY, THE VERY BEST FOR A VERY LONG TIME.....GEE B R O 3
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I LOVED FOURPLAY THE BEST
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best ever sound i have evar heard! I love jazz and this is the best ever!
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Jeff Golub is one of the Great Ones....love this cut
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